Gluten-free Cinnamon Star Christmas Cookies (Zimtsterne)

Lovely squidgy cookies flavoured with warming winter spices and a meringue topping. This Gluten-free and Paleo recipe is made with ground almonds and honey.

Gluten-free Cinnamon Star Christmas Cookies (Zimtsterne)

Zimtsterne are simple German cookies made from an almond and sugar dough that is spiced with cinnamon and topped with meringue. The dough is very sticky, resulting in a squidgy and moist interior that will retain a perfect indentation of your front teeth, rather than snapping and crumbling into an accompanying cup of tea. The trick is to bake the cookies long enough to dry them out, but without browning the meringue topping. In my recipe, I suggest starting the cookies off in the oven for 7 minutes before adding the meringue and baking for a further 10 minutes. However, I personally prefer the taste and texture of a browned meringue, so will happily spoon over the meringue before placing in the oven undisturbed for a full 20 minutes.

Recipes for using up the leftover egg yolks:

cooking time
Gluten-free Cinnamon Star Christmas Cookies (Zimtsterne)


  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/2 cup (135g) honey
  • grated zest of 1 organic lemon
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 3/4 cups (250g) ground almonds
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger


  1. Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F. Line a couple of large metal baking trays with baking paper.
  2. Put the egg whites in a clean, dry bowl and whisk with an electric whisk for 1-2 minutes, until soft peaks form. Add the honey and lemon juice and whisk for a further 1-2 minutes.
  3. In a separate bowl, measure the dry ingredients (ground almonds, lemon zest, ground cinnamon and ground ginger) and mix until blended.
  4. Reserve about a quarter of the egg white mixture to use for the meringue topping. Combine the rest of the egg white mixture with the dry ingredients and mix well to form a sticky dough.
  5. Lay a sheet of baking paper on a chopping board. Form the dough into a ball and place on top of the baking paper. Sandwich another sheet of baking paper on top and roll out the dough to about 1 cm thick. Peel off the top sheet and cut out star shapes using a cutter dipped in water. Use a palette knife or fish slice to transfer each shape to the prepared baking tray. The stars do not expand during cooking, so can be placed fairly close to one another, but should not be touching.
  6. Transfer to the preheated oven and bake for 7 minutes (before edges catch and brown). Remove from the oven and use a teaspoon to carefully spread the meringue mixture on top. Bake for a further 10 minutes, removing before the meringue browns.
  7. Wait until the cookies have cooled for 10 minutes before transferring onto a wire cooling rack using a palette knife or fish slice. The cookies should keep for up to 2 weeks.

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